President Biden is proposing to spend $37 billion for fighting and preventing crime, a move that many analysts see as an attempt to reassure the American public that Democrats care about public safety ahead of the midterm elections.
The anti-crime program, called the Safer Communities Act, aims to fight sweeping violent crime and gun violence across the country by hiring more police officers and funding agencies of all sizes.
According to administration officials, the proposal will include a $13 billion budget for hiring and training 100,000 police officers over the next five years, as well as $3 billion to help clear court backlogs and resolve cases involving murders and gun violence.
Also included is $15 billion to create a grant program that would fund ideas for violent crime prevention strategies or teams of public health officials who respond to nonviolent crimes instead of law enforcement. Another $5 billion will go toward funding violence prevention community groups.
As the midterm elections approach, rising crime is top of mind for voters and politicians. Analysts see Biden’s proposal as a way to push back against the notion that Democrats are soft on crime.
“Tomorrow you will hear President Biden drive a clear contrast with congressional Republicans,” one senior Biden administration official said ahead of the president’s announcement. “You will hear him outline how he and congressional Democrats have funded the police and taken action to fight crime.”
The president had planned to visit Wilkes University in Pennsylvania on July 21 to formally announce the proposal to Congress. However, the event was canceled after Biden tested positive for COVID-19. The president instead participated in meetings via phone and Zoom, according to a press release from the White House.